No one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America’s torture policy. And John Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The United States sanctioned acts of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and others. The acts took place in secret prisons (“black sites”) against persons detained indefinitely without trial. They were described in detail and explicitly authorized in a series of secret torture memos drafted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, senior lawyers in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Office of Legal Counsel attorneys technically answer directly to the DOJ, which is supposed to be independent from the White House, but obviously was not in this case.) Not one of those men, or their Justice Department bosses, has been held accountable for their actions.
Some tortured prisoners were killed by the CIA. Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that no one would be held accountable for those murders either. “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths,” he said, “the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jose Rodriguez, a senior CIA official, admitted destroying videotapes of potentially admissible evidence, showing the torture of captives by operatives of the U.S. government at a secret prison thought to be located at a Vietnam-War-era airbase in Thailand. He was not held accountable for deep-sixing this evidence, nor for his role in the torture of human beings.
John Kiriakou Alone
The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors who went to jail is former CIA officer John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one.
And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.
What do the NYPD arresting officers of Eric Garner, the CIA officials responsible for the crimes detailed in the Torture Report and US foreign policy officials all have in common? They are all agents of institutions that have adopted an “authoritarian psychology.” So what does authoritarian psychology mean?
Alexandre Kojeve, a French fascist in Vichy France, and lifelong close friend of Neocon Godfather Leo Strauss, explained authority as follows: “Authority is the possibility of an agent acting upon others without these others reacting against him, despite being capable to do so, and without making any compromises. Any discussion is already a compromise.”
This is anathema to the authoritarian because it means their absolute authority or of the institution they represent has been lost, even if only to an imperceptible degree. That is the nature of authoritarian psychology and authoritarian government by Kojeve’s and fascist logic.
What this meant to Eric Garner was explained to Ray Suarez by a retired Chicago policeman. First, it doesn’t matter whether the arrest is for a petty crime or a felony. In the case of Garner, according to the Chicago policeman, he had been given the opportunity to surrender, to submit. When he didn’t follow the “order,” (not quick enough) he was not complying and therefore the police “took it to the next level.”
Does everyone remember when USAID created that “Cuban Twitter” and paid all those guys to start agitating for regime change on it? What if that wasn’t even the most ridiculous thing USAID was doing in Cuba at the time?
Good news, it wasn’t! USAID also hired a bunch of Serbian music promoters and spent millions of dollars trying to create a regime-change themed hip-hop music movement in Cuba.
The scheme wasn’t totally unrelated to fake Cuban Twitter, which they used to try to promote the
It didn’t take long for the hip-hoperation to be found out, either, as when they tried to bankroll a music festival put on by a pro-government singer, in the hopes of turning it toward the aim of regime change, Cuba started detaining people involved, and learned of the USAID involvement.
Senators are criticizing USAID once again for wasting a bunch of money on a crazy plot with money that was supposed to be for humanitarian aid. As usual, USAID is defending the program as an attempt to “increase civil engagement.”
Tuesday’s release by the Senate Intelligence Committee of its long-awaited report on the torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of detainees in the so-called “war on terror” does not go far enough, according to major U.S. human rights groups.
While welcoming the report’s release, the subject of months of intensive negotiations and sometimes furious negotiations between the Senate Committee’s majority and both the CIA and the administration of President Barack Obama, the groups said additional steps were needed to ensure that US officials never again engage in the kind of torture detailed in the report.
“This should be the beginning of a process, not the end,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “The report should shock President Obama and Congress into action, to make sure that torture and cruelty are never used again.”
He called, among other steps, for the appointment of a special prosecutor to hold the “architects and perpetrators” of what the George W. Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) accountable and for Congress to assert its control over the CIA, “which in this report sounds more like a rogue paramilitary group than the intelligence gathering agency that it’s supposed to be.”
He was joined by London-based Amnesty International which noted that the declassified information provided in the report constituted “a reminder to the world of the utter failure of the USA to end the impunity enjoyed by those who authorized and used torture and other ill-treatment.
A 1999 comic book examined humanitarian intervention and regime change, predicting the Iraq War catastrophe.
Dictators are bad, therefore intervening to remove a dictator is good, right?
For many Iraq War supporters it was as simple as that, and they derided opponents as apologists for Saddam Hussein. Even now that the War has become a self-evident catastrophe and debacle, dead-enders among its architects still have the nerve to resort to this line. For example, in June of this year, John Bolton whined on television:
President Bush did absolutely the right thing in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and it’s kind of stunning to me to see you libertarians defending that dictatorship.
One might be tempted to call this a cartoonish, comic-book view. But as it turns out, that would be an unfair insult to comic books, since one particular comic book had a far more sophisticated and accurate perspective on the matter. In fact, it anticipated, in broad outlines, what would actually result from such a war four years before the Iraq War was launched.
In the 1999 graphic novel JLA: Superpower (written by John Arcudi and illustrated by Scot Eaton and Ray Kryssing), Superman, Batman, and the other super-heroes of the Justice League of America (JLA) struggle over what to do about “Kirai”, a “rogue” Middle Eastern country clearly based on Iraq.
Initially, Kirai is only on the fringes of the story. For example, a television in the background is shown to announce, “In other news, U.N. weapons inspectors were turned away in Kirai today.” This is probably an echo of then-recent developments. In 1998, the year before the comic was published, President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which targeted that country for regime change, prompting Saddam to end cooperation with UN weapons inspectors. (In late 1999, UN inspectors were allowed to return .)
In the main thread of the narrative, the Justice League recruits a powerful young superhero named Mark Antaeus. Antaeus is extremely driven and idealistic. Years prior, due to the limits of his power, he wasn’t able to save a family from the collapse of a burning building. This failure haunted him, leading him to vow, “never again,” and to undergo extreme body modifications to greatly boost his power.
Early in Citizenfour – journalist Laura Poitras’ new film about whistleblower Edward Snowden – Snowden explains his internal struggle over whether to out himself as the source of the evidence for broad NSA spying on American citizens.
Snowden thinks it’s much more powerful for someone to openly leak information about wrongdoing than to do so anonymously – it sends the message to government officials that they’re the wrongdoers, not the whistleblower. However, he is also leery of the media’s tendency to focus on personalities at the expense of factual analysis. He wants the information he’s leaking to be the story, not himself.
Citizenfour tries to straddle the line Snowden identifies.
It’s in large part a drama about Snowden and the journalists he chooses to confide in – namely, Glenn Greenwald and Poitras herself, though the latter is hidden behind the camera. As such, it can’t help but be a portrait of these individuals. Indeed, the movie doesn’t try to avoid this, employing lingering close-ups of Snowden staring out the window of his hotel room.
At the same time, it’s a summary and dramatization of the story Snowden broke and selected events connected to it. Ultimately, however, the portraiture takes an upper hand, at the expense of more nuanced reporting.